Storm news: Flood warnings; eye on Biloxi; road advisories

The Tchoutacabouffa and Biloxi rivers are expected to crest Wednesday evening at nearly double their flood stages, flooding nearby roadways and homes, emergency management officials said Tuesday.

The National Weather Service reported Tuesday night that the center of Tropical Storm Cindy had made landfall at 10:30 p.m. about 14 miles southwest of Grand Isle, La., with winds of near 70 mph and moving toward the north-northeast at 13 mph.

At midnight, the weather service said the center of the storm was at Latitude 29.4 North and Longitude 90.1 West, about 15 miles norhwest of Grand Isle and 40 miles south of New Orleans. Tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 105 miles from the center. The storm was expected to make a gradual northeastern turn over the next 12 to 24 hours and weaken as it continued over land. (For latest advisories, click here.).

Flood warnings were issued for the Biloxi River near Lyman, the Tchoutacabouffa River near D’Iberville and for the Wolf River near Gulfport as a result of the anticipated heavy rains from Tropical Storm Cindy.

Harrison County Emergency Management officials reported that readings at the Biloxi River near Lyman at 7 p.m. Tuesday showed the river stage at 1.5 feet. Flood stage is 12 feet, and the river is forecast to crest at 16.5 feet Wednesday by 7 p.m. Major flooding will occur in Retreat and Riverland Village subdivisions at the 16 foot stage, the county reported, and homes on Lower Fisherman Trail will remain flooded, and Lower River Road will be impassable.

For the Tchoutacabouffa River near D’Iberville, the 7 p.m. reading Tuesday was at 0.7 feet. Flood stage is 8 feet, and the river is forecast to crest at 15 feet Wednesday by 7 p.m., the county said. Recreational camps will be inaccessible, and property along Lamey Bridge Road will be flooded.

For the Wolf River above Gulfport, the stage was 1.7 feet at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Flood stage is 8 feet, and the river is forecast to crest at 8.5 feet Wednesday at 1 p.m. Bells Ferry Road will begin to flood, and water will cover the access road upstream of bridge and the road will become impassable quickly.

Forecast crests are based on rain that has occurred and anticipated rain over the next 12 hours. Forecasts will be adjusted based if heavier rainfall occurs.

Residents are reminded that it is dangerous to drive through standing water. If you encounter standing water across the roadway, turn around and choose an alternate route.

National media broadcasting from Biloxi

The Fox News Network is scheduled to interview Mayor A.J. Holloway via satellite Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. for its morning national newscast. Reporters from the cable channel arrived in Biloxi Tuesday evening, and reporters from the Weather Channel have been broadcasting live segments from Biloxi since mid-afternoon Tuesday.

The national media turned the spotlight to Biloxi in September 2004, when Hurricane Ivan threatened the area, before making landfall along the Florida and Alabama coastlines. In fact, to see a USA Today story when Ivan threatened, click here.

Governor declares state of emergency

Gov. Haley Barbour this afternoon declared a state of emergency exists for Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone and George counties. The areas are expected to be adversely affected by Tropical Storm Cindy late Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning.

The Biloxi City Council Tuesday evening unanimously voted in favor of Mayor A.J. Holloway’s recommendation to declare a state of emergency in Biloxi.

Use caution when traveling local roadways

Emergency Management officials, wary of anticipated flooding from Tropical Storm Cindy and as many as 12 hours of tropical force winds, are advising motorists to stay off the road-ways unless absolutely necessary.

Those motorists who must travel during the next 24 hours are reminded to use caution and adhere to following safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

— Do not drive through flooded areas. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and seek another route.
— If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
— Do not walk through flooded areas. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
–Avoid downed electrical wires.